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Judaism Has Changed Before — Part 1

Many people think that Judaism has been the same since it began more than 5,000 years ago and, therefore, it should not change now. They are very wrong. Let me give some examples:

Judaism began as a family religion, starting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When Joseph was in Egypt, his brothers came to live there because there was a famine where they were living. They stayed in Egypt 400 years, going from invited guests to total slavery. When Moses led them out of Egypt, they had become separate tribes, descending primarily from the 12 sons of Jacob and Joseph. During their wanderings in the desert, and then the settling of the Promised Land, it was clear there was as much loyalty, or more, to their tribes than to the nation as a whole. So Judaism had gone from a family religion to a tribal religion.

While in the desert, the Israelites, as they were then called, were given the Ten Commandments and the Torah. So now they were not just a family religion and a tribal religion, but they also became a nation of laws and rituals, which applied to all of them, regardless of which tribe they were in.

The Promised Land was settled by each tribe being given a geographical location, and the tribes were pretty independent, very like the United States was before the Constitution, where though everyone was an American, there was also strong loyalty to the State one belonged to. This became very evident in the Civil War. A similar thing happened to the Israelites later, as we shall see.

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